IT is simply not acceptable that the council has lately spent £17,000 on bottled water.

The local authority says this water is made available to visiting organisations and members of the public, while councillors and officials make do with tap water.

Frankly, this is no excuse.

Study after study has proved conclusively that there is no difference worth bothering about between bottled water and the variety obtainable several thousand times more cheaply from our taps.

The most one can say for bottled waters is that their flavours sometimes differ slightly from that of tap water. This is because of variations in composition of the mineral beds among which water must pass on its way to the bottling plant.

There is no evidence that bottled water is inherently better for one’s health than the standard tap vintage, and ‘hydration’ is a myth dreamed up by mineral water marketing departments. Any water-based drink hydrates the drinker.

In addition, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Swindon’s tap water, and therefore nothing wrong with serving it to visitors.

If any of those visitors objects to being served tap water, or entertains some delusion that water is not potable unless it costs a pound per half litre and comes in a bottle with a fancy label, let them excuse themselves, head for the nearest shop and purchase whatever takes their fancy.

We are forever being told by the local authority that belts must be tightened and we must all cut our suits according to our cloth. Revelations such as this tend to undermine that message.